Inmate charged with capital murder for the death of Texas Corrections Officer Jovian Motley

The man accused of killing a Texas Corrections Officer has now been indicted. The parents of Jovian Motley described Monday as bittersweet.

They are grateful inmate Jabari Lewis is now charged with capital murder for the death of their son, Corrections Officer Jovian Motley at the Wainwright Unit, but they're still dealing with his tragic loss.

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Motley was one of several Corrections Officers ordered to remove Lewis from his cell. Lewis was in there alone and refusing to come out, back in November 2023.

Motley was the only officer who didn't make it out alive.

The 27-year-old's parents have viewed video of the attack, but they say the light was out in the cell, and they couldn't make out what they were seeing.

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The Motleys are thankful Lewis has been charged, as they spent their first Father's Day without their son.

"I was in tears really most of the day. It was rough. (Your daughter gave you a gift?) Yes it was beautiful, a bear, a teddy bear, and it has my son's voice recorded in it," explains Motley's dad, Edward Motley, who pressed the bear and Jovian's voice played.  

"I just want to say I totally love you and I'll always have your back. I'll always have your back and I know you'll always have mine. I love you so much. Stay prayed up. There is nothing I would not do for you."

"I just miss my son so much," Mr. Motley adds. 

"I'm still in disbelief. I'm also angry. You have a lieutenant standing outside the door, a sergeant standing outside the door. What did you see? Was my son struggling to breathe? Was he under duress? I just imagine as a mom he was fighting for his breath and no one out of eight or nine people saw him struggling. We want to see real change, where these officers can go to work and safely say yes, it's a dangerous job, but safety is a priority, and we're not seeing that with this administration," says Motley's mom Tammica Motley. 

Her husband added, "I feel like they're taking shortcuts on a lot of the safety, and in safety, you can't take shortcuts."

"Just this weekend, I was at a retreat, and I was sitting in a room with other mothers, and they were talking about their fallen loved one. I was sitting in the room thinking there's no way I'm here. It was put on by the Correctional Peace Officer Foundation. If it had not been for that retreat, I don't think I could stand here today as strong as I am. We appreciate all the awards and the accolades, but how we honor Jovian is to make sure this doesn't happen to another officer," says Mrs. Motley.    

The Motleys have attended TDCJ Board Meetings and reached out to the governor, as they try to get safety protocols upgraded, as well as better mental health treatment for inmates who need it. The grieving parents also want TDCJ administrators "held accountable" for their son's death.